Are “Structural Abnormalities” on Magnetic Resonance Imaging a Contraindication to the Successful Conservative Treatment of Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain?

Kleinstuck, Frank MD; Dvorak, Jiri MD; Mannion, Anne F. BSc, PhD

The purpose of this study was to examine the association between structural abnormalities recorded on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and outcome after evidence-based conservative treatment in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain (LBP).  Back pain (average and worst) and disability (Roland Morris score) were assessed before and after therapy, and 12 months later, and the improvements were examined in relation to the presence or absence of baseline MRI "abnormalities." The authors concluded that in the patient group examined, the presence of common "structural abnormalities" on MRI had no significant negative influence on the outcome after therapy.

Spine. 31(19):2250-2257, September 1, 2006.

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